Christine Deakers

Battling big box


In neighborhood commercial districts, national chains and other formula retail stores such as PETCO, Target, Subway, Walmart, and Starbucks are hot button issues for residents who don’t want to see San Francisco turn into a strip mall or have local money pulled from the community.

Sup. Eric Mar and other city officials want to make sure local small businesses aren’t being unnecessarily hurt by competition from national chains, which is why he called a hearing on Dec. 5 to discuss big box retailers and their impacts on San Francisco’s small businesses, neighborhoods, workers, and economy.

“There is no vehicle to see the impacts of big business on the city,” Mar told us, saying he is contemplating legislation to do just that.

Mar was part of city efforts to keep formula pet stores from locating in the Richmond area, working with a coalition of pet food small businesses concerned about PETCO and Pet Food Express trying to move into the area. But it isn’t just pet stores.

“There is a perception that Walmart might make a move into the city since we already have stores like Fresh n’ Easy,” Mar’s Legislative Aide Nick Pagoulatos told us.

The city doesn’t have a comprehensive analysis on how these companies impact San Francisco. Mar says he wants to “have a clear scale of their influence and see what we need to do to protect small business in San Francisco.”

History of wariness

In 2004, the Board of Supervisors adopted the first Formula Retail Use Control legislation, an ordinance that “prohibited Formula Retail in one district; required Conditional Use Authorization in another; and established notification requirements in all neighborhood commercial districts.”

The Planning Code changed again after a voter ballot initiative in 2007, Proposition G, required any formula retail use in neighborhood commercial districts to obtain a conditional use permit, which gave neighboring businesses a chance to weigh in during a public hearing.

Mar said the intent wasn’t to bar big box retail from entering the city, but to simply give neighborhoods a voice. But now, he said the city needs to take a more comprehensive look at what’s coming and how they will impact the city.

Small Business Commissioner Kathleen Dooley echoed the concern, which extends even beyond city limits. “I’ve heard through the rumor mill that Lowe’s in South San Francisco is going to close and

Walmart is looking to take that space since they know they’d never get into the city,” she told us. “It’s bad enough that Target is opening stores [in San Francisco]. They are the quintessential big box because they sell everything.”

Target is in the process of opening a massive store inside the Metreon in SoMa, and another store at Geary and Masonic. Mar isn’t diametrically opposed to the big box industry, but he thinks those companies should be appropriately situated.

“I’ve seen that people in Richmond are positive toward big box like Target coming into the district, but some are nervous that it will take down business,” he told us. “There are some property spaces that are supposed to be for big box, like the property at Geary and Masonic where the old Sears and Toys”R”Us used to be.”

But it’s not easy to figure out what other big box stores have their sights set on the city. The Planning Department’s list of projects in the pipeline aren’t always filed under the name of the business, making it difficult to stay vigilant.

For example, while application #3710017 at 350 Mission Street describes the project as a “95,000 sq. ft. building of office, retail and accessory uses,” it isn’t clear what businesses are actually setting up shop. And these days, some big box stores are coming in smaller boxes.

Prototype stores such as Unleashed by PETCO are specifically designed to squeeze into smaller property spaces so they can get into neighbor corridors that are typically reserved for small businesses.

More help needed

During the Dec. 5 hearing before the Land Use and Economic Development Committee, Sup. Scott Wiener echoed Mar concerns, commenting that he wants to see how the Planning Commission could “improve the Conditional Use process since we see a pushback of strong neighborhood activity.”

Dooley recalled an issue from 2009 when the Small Business Commission formally asked the Planning Commission not to authorize a PETCO in the Richmond because “the surrounding area was already well served by pet stores.” The board ultimately stopped PETCO, but Pet Food Express did locate a store nearby, which Dooley said has already taken a toll on the locally owned pet food suppliers.

“Big box stores carry a huge number of products that impact other stores,” she said. “Big box is a category killer in the neighborhood…the Planning Commission needs new criteria for formula retail because there are several different types.”

Some superstores require parking lots, taking up additional land, and increasing traffic in certain neighborhoods. Yet one trait that most chain stores have in common is that they extract more money from San Francisco than locally owned businesses, whose revenues tend to circulate locally.

“With every dollar spent at local stores, 65 cents will go back into the community, while only a quarter will be returned from a big box.” Rick Karp, owner of the 50-year-old Cole Hardware, said at the hearing, citing various studies on the issue.

Small business owners are asking for economic impact reports to be included in project applications from chain stores to see just how they measure up to their locally owned counterparts.

When Lowe’s entered his district, Karp says he lost 18 percent of his business and was forced to eliminate six full-time jobs. He appealed to city officials to “keep big box out of San Francisco because it impacts the efficacy of neighborhood shopping.”

Once chain stores puts the locals out of business, the consumer is stuck with set prices and reduced variety. But critics say it isn’t just consumers and small business owners who suffer, but workers as well. They singled out Walmart as notorious for union-busting and poor labor standards.

“We can use our land use ordinances and powers to set a basic minimum labor standard. Big box must abide by that and also include health care if implemented in local government [legislation],” Mar said.

But Steven Pitts, a labor policy specialist at UC Berkeley, told us there is a connection between low prices and low wages.

“People who work at Walmart are poorer than those who shop there,” he told us. “Therefore, if prices were raised to increase wages for employees, the burden wouldn’t be on people of lower income.”
Opposing Walmart

To illustrate how Walmart would adversely affect San Francisco’s workforce, the hearing included two employees of Walmart, Barbara Collins and Ronald Phillips from Placerville, who helped create Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OURWalmart) to push for better benefits and labor standards.

“We want to hold Walmart accountable,” said Collins, whose last annual income from Walmart was $15,000 annually, a salary she realized couldn’t support her four children. “Walmart says they pay living wages. No, they don’t.”

Phillips said that Walmart has “a tendency to fire people for any reason and then does not have to pay for the benefits… I was one of these people, but I was rehired.”

For the past three months, Phillips says she has worked at least six days and 40 hours per week, but that she still qualified for welfare assistance.

Also at the hearing, SF Locally Owned Merchants Alliance unveiled a study showing that formula retail costs nearly as many jobs as it creates. A domino effect occurs when stores close because fewer customers circulate to other nearby stores.

But the group noted that consumer habits are probably even more important than city regulations. The SFLOMA study found that if 10 percent of San Franciscans shifted their spending to locally owned small businesses, consumers would create 1,300 jobs and $190 million in the city.

And that would be good for everyone: owners, consumers, and workers. Steven Cornell, owner of Brownie’s Hardware, said that small business pays good wages, typically above the minimum wage, as well as sick leave, health coverage, and other benefits. As he told the hearing, “Local businesses have been doing this for 20 to 30 years since we are already invested in the community.”




Is Global Revolution Possible?

The Arab Spring and Occupy movements were catalysts to a worldwide introspection and discontent toward countries’ economic and political systems. Change is necessary in order to place human interest over economic gain. The big questions are on the table with Shimaa Helmy, revolutionary activist in Cairo, Egypt, and Sid Patel, OccupySFer and contributor to

7 p.m., free

Redstone Building, Third Floor Conference Room

2940 16th St., SF


Occupy Chevron

The multi-billion-dollar oil corporation Chevron is appealing its property tax assessment for its Richmond refinery and other Contra Costa County facilities, trying to get $150 million back from revenues going to the cash-strapped county and its school district. So the Richmond Progressive Alliance and other groups are organizing a protest outside the hearing of the Contra Costa County Assessment Appeals Board in Martinez. Stop Chevron’s slick lawyers from bullying the community and taking more away from the 99 percent.

11:30 a.m. gathering, rally at noon, free

651 Pine, Martinez Contact: Eduardo Martinez

(510) 412-2260


Rally Against Budget Cuts

The state deadline for mid-year budget cuts approaches and Gov. Jerry Brown’s $2.5 billion additional take backs from public education and other social services launches another stint of heavy austerity measures. Why steal from the poor and the state when you can take taxes from the rich? Sisters United Front for Survival and CalWORKS invite all to congregate and try to save what is left of California services.

5 p.m., free

California State Building

455 Golden Gate, SF

(415) 864-1278



Resist ICE raid

Over 200 workers at the Pacific Steel Castings foundry in Berkeley were fired as a result of a “silent raid’ by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement branch. ICE claims the employees had no legal immigrant status, but this massive firing is damaging the East Bay economy and job market since many of these steel workers had been employees for decades. A community coalition stands in solidarity for those displaced and out of work.

2-4 p.m., free but suggested donations include food, toys, clothing to help families

St Mark’s Hall

159 Harbour Way, Richmond

(510) 233-5215

For more info call Rev. Debbie Lee at 510-903-7106 ext. 319

Or Francisco Herrera at 510-903-7106 ext. 302

Mail items for Alerts to the Guardian Building, 135 Mississippi St., SF, CA 94107; fax to (415) 437-3658; or e-mail Please include a contact telephone number. Items must be received at least one week prior to the publication date.




Feminist Occupiers

Eyewitness accounts from women in the Bay Area and London have attested to sexual harassment in Occupy camps and struggles to be heard at Occupy General Assembly meetings. Join in a vibrant discussion about women’s issues within the Occupy and other protest movements.

Light supper served at 6:15 p.m. for a suggested $7.50 donation

747 Polk, SF

Contact: Norma Gallegos



Occupy Education organizing

Help plan the next steps in the campaign to get funding for the public university system at this organizing meeting for Occupy Education NorCal. The discussion will include the demands in an open letter to state officials approved Nov. 15 by Occupy Cal General Assembly and plans for a direct action campaign in the spring.

Noon, free

UAW Local 2865

2070 Allston #205, Berk


International Human Rights March

Participate in International Human Rights Day by marching from the OccupySF encampment to United Nations Plaza, where a series of speakers will address the need to strengthen efforts to protect and expand basic human rights at home and abroad.

3-5 p.m., free

Justin Herman/Bradley Manning Plaza

Market and Steuart, SF


West Coast Port Shutdown

To hit business where it hurts and swat away union busting, OccupyOakland and OccupyLA are working hand-in-hand to protest EGT (an international grain exporter whose practices have detrimental effects on the working class) and Goldman Sachs (the investment banking giant that supports EGT and has fired port truckers) through a port blockade along the West Coast. Come help demonstrate the power of people to cut into the profits of entities hostile to the 99 percent.

5:30 am, West Oakland BART station, march to Port of Oakland

3 p.m., Rally at 14th and Broadway, Oakl, then march to Port

5 p.m., West Oakland BART station, march to Port


Steve Williams Roast

After 15 years of helping lead People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER), Steve Williams is moving on. But before he goes, he’ll be subjecting himself to the Steve Williams Roast & Toast, with the goal of raising more than $5,000 for POWER. To help meet that goal, the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program has agreed to match every donated dollar up to that amount.

7-10 p.m., $25-$40

SEIU Local 1021 HQ

350 Rhode Island, SF


Mail items for Alerts to the Guardian Building, 135 Mississippi St., SF, CA 94107; fax to (415) 437-3658; or e-mail Please include a contact telephone number. Items must be received at least one week prior to the publication date.





Protesting Muni firings

Transport Workers Solidarity Committee hosts a press conference to highlight Muni operators who have recently been fired. The group claims SF politicians, the MTA, and the current Transit Workers Union Local 250A leaders are culpable in unfair and unjustified dismissals. TWSC — with support from the NAACP and United Public Workers for Action — says it hopes to spur the TWU to speak out against unfair contracts and bosses.

11 a.m., free

San Francisco Chronicle 5th & Mission, SF



Occupying foreclosed homes

Occupy Santa Cruz is taking opposition to the 1 percent a step further. Congregate and picket in front of corporate banks in downtown Santa Cruz to show contempt for unfair capitalistic practices. A march toward the foreclosed homes in Santa Cruz will protest against banks and highlight how many properties are left empty and unused despite many citizens who struggle to find affordable shelter.

2-6 p.m., free

Meet at the Courthouse on Water Street March to banks at *:30 p.m.




OccupySF Housing

OccupySF Housing, a coalition comprised of the Housing Rights Committee, OccupySF, Asian Law Caucus, San Francisco Tenants Union, Eviction Defense Collaborative, Tenants Together, and other groups leads a protest to protect San Franciscans from predatory banks and landlords who degrade the 99 percent’s access to affordable housing. The protest will highlight equity loans designed to turn a fast profit at the expense of homeowners and illegal evictions financed by big banks and their role in contributing to the city’s affordable housing crisis. Delegations from four of the most affected SF neighborhoods will converge on the banks most responsible for foreclosures in the city.

11 am, 3rd and Palou (Bayview)

Noon, Market and Castro (Castro)

1 p.m., Mission and *4th (The Mission)

1 p.m., Civic Center (Tenderloin)

March will end @ 3 p.m. in Justin Herman Plaza

Contact Amitai Heller at 415-971-9664



Occupy Oakland Self Defense

Occupy Oakland ensures that the 99 percent can protect itself. Girl Army spearheads community development as a self-defense collective, run through Suigetsukan Dojo, a nonprofit martial arts school in Oakland. Women and queer people are especially welcome, but the class is also geared toward those who are occupying foreclosed homes and camping in protest of the 1 percent.

1-2:30 p.m., free

Oscar Grant Park/Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland

Meet at North Plaza near the flower shop

Contact Melissa at

Mail items for Alerts to the Guardian Building, 135 Mississippi St., SF, CA 94107; fax to (415) 437-3658; or e-mail Please include a contact telephone number. Items must be received at least one week prior to the publication date.




Confront the UC Regents

Editor’s Note: The UC canceled this meeting as we were going to press, citing public safety concerns, and protest organizers were figuring out how to respond. Check our Politics blog or for the latest.

The UC Board of Regents will be meeting at the UCSF Mission Bay Campus at 10 am, and students have been organizing for months to make their voices heard. The message: stop tuition hikes, budget cuts, and privatization of public schools; tax the 1 percent.

ReFund California and the Northern California Convergence will join up with OccupySF and Occupy encampments being set up on various college campuses this week to “Shut down the UC Regents meeting and take control of our education and our future.” ReFund California is also threatening to march on the Financial District to shut down banks if the Regents don’t support their five-point pledge of action (see “The growing 99 percent,” 11/9).

OccupySF will be marching from their encampment at Justin Herman Plaza (Market and Embarcadero) to the Mission Bay Campus starting at 7 am. UC Berkeley students can board a ReFund California bus at 7 am at Bancroft and Telegraph in Berkeley.

10 a.m., free

UCSF Mission Bay Campus

1675 Owens, SF

(650) 238-4821



Changing Congress

San Francisco Progressive Democrats of America hosts a discussion with Norman Solomon, a prolific progressive political writer who is running for Congress to replace retiring Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Marin), a member and former chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The event opens the floor for questions and concerns regarding future legislation.

7-9 p.m., free

Harry R. Bridges Memorial Building, ILWU, 4th Floor

1188 Franklin, SF


Addiction & Society

Our capitalist society may be to blame for our addictive tendencies and obsessive consumerism. Dr. Gabor Mate, an author and physician who focuses on mental illness, explains how our market economy drives us crazy and leads us down a path toward dependency. Speak Out Now’s colloquium event will help listeners connect the dots between two of our country’s most prevalent concerns.

5-7 p.m., $2 suggested donation

South Berkeley Senior Center 2939 Ellis, Berk.


“Gay Politics in Africa”

Beyond our own shores, homophobia persists to infiltrate government and subjugate people with leaders who use religion and law as instruments to thwart the freedom of sexual expression. Dr. Sylvia Tamale, renowned African feminist, analyzes the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill and opines on the roots of homosexual suppression in Africa and Western societies.

6- 7:30 p.m., free

Berman Hall in the Fromm Building, USF Golden Gate and Parker, SF





Student Day of Action

ReFund California begins its Make Banks Pay week of action by organizing a protest to shut down a local branch of Wells Fargo, a contributor to the financial collapse of 2008 and the current foreclosure crisis. Students from City College and the San Francisco State University will join forces to call for banks to help restore the deep cuts to higher educations that they helped cause.

Noon, free

Gather at SFSU Quad to take the M bus to West Portal and march to the bank



Poor People’s Decolonization

Join Occupy Oakland, POOR Magazine, and other groups for a march on four government offices that promote the criminalization and deportation of poor people from around the world: the Oakland Police Department, Oakland Housing Authority, Alameda County Social Services, and U.S. Department Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Noon, free

Gather at the OPD

455 Seventh, Oakl.



Picket Hotel Frank

Wells Fargo and its Hotel Frank management company, Provenance, refused to recognize the Unite Here Local 2 contract, increased the workload for employees, and haven’t paid any medical or pension coverage. The National Labor Relations Board has found Hotel Frank guilty of violating federal labor laws, including firing and disciplining workers for engaging in union activities, but only this daily picket seems capable of making a difference.

3-5:30pm, free

Hotel Frank Geary and Mason, SF



Bay Area Resilience

Help formulate regional plans by community groups, social movements, and public planners for a strong economy, climate adaptation, and emergency preparedness. Bay Localize, Communities for a Better Environment, Global Exchange, and other groups are coming together for this Bay Area Convening on Resilience and Equity. Come and join the movement.

9am-3pm, $7-10 (includes lunch)

California Endowment Conference Center 1111 Broadway, Oakl



OccupySF Teach-In

Learn about the OccupySF movement and what it’s all about by attending the General Assembly at noon followed by a march to downtown at 3pm. Meet at the “SF Free School” poster.

Noon- 4:30 p.m., free

Justin Herman Plaza

Embarcadero and Market, SF


Mail items for Alerts to the Guardian Building, 135 Mississippi St., SF, CA 94107; fax to (415) 437-3658; or e-mail Please include a contact telephone number. Items must be received at least one week prior to the publication date.





Occupy Oakland General Strike

In response to last week’s police crackdown, Occupy Oakland called for a general strike on Nov. 2, urging workers and students to shut the city down and join the movement. Convene with neighbors, community members .and affinity groups to take part at a moment when “the whole world is watching Oakland.” Banks and corporations that don’t close will be marched on. The Strike Coordinating Council will begin meeting every Wednesday at 5pm in Oscar Grant Plaza before the daily General Assembly at 7pm. All participants are welcome.

All Day, free

Oscar Grant Plaza

14th & Broadway, Oakland



Transgender Film Festival

This year at the 10th Annual Transgender Film Festival, watch the captivating collection on defiance, bullying, romance, relationships, sex, and so much more. International filmmakers journeyed from across the globe. Be sure to buy your tickets before they sell out, which it is expected to.

8-10 p.m., $12-15


1310 Mission, SF

Contact Eric Garcia:



Sacred Sites Peacewalk

The Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists Social Justice Committee will provide overnight shelter space for participants in Sacred Sites Peacewalk for a Nuclear Free World. All are welcome for a potluck dinner, speak out and discussion featuring a Buddhist teacher and peace activist. The walk began Oct. 22 at Diablo Canyon and ends Nov. 6 at Glen Cove, Vallejo.

6-9 p.m.

Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists’ Hall

1924 Cedar, Berkeley

(510) 841-4824



Occupy Wells Fargo

The marginalized in the 99 percent are fed up with austerity, especially these 67 Suenos, a collective of undocumented youth and allies that refuse to be passive about violence in the Bay Area community. Stand in solidarity against banks who aggressively invest and profit off anti-immigrant laws like Arizona’s AB 1070. Come and join in planning preparations.

10 am- 1 p.m., free

Contact: 67suenos@gmail

Oscar Grant Plaza/Downtown Wells Fargo 1 block away

14th St. and Broadway, Oakl.


Marxism Conference

From Athens to Cairo to San Francisco, capitalism has proven its instability and people are fighting back. With the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon, it’s the perfect time to further understand the Marxist philosophy on exploitation and how the working class can liberate the oppressed. Featured speakers include Alan Maass, editor of Social Worker newspaper and Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor, editorial board member of International Socialist Review.

10 am- 6 p.m., free

UC Berkeley

Rooms 220 Wheeler and 126 Barrows

Telegraph and Bancroft, Berk


Mail items for Alerts to the Guardian Building, 135 Mississippi St., SF, CA 94107; fax to (415) 437-3658; or e-mail Please include a contact telephone number. Items must be received at least one week prior to the publication date.

Progressive group stands out as the lone Lee endorser


Mayor Ed Lee’s support by the wealthy power brokers and his checkered history with the Willie Brown administration has caused most progressive groups to shun him in this election, with one notable exception. San Francisco Rising Action Fund, a grassroots organization for working class people of color, gave Lee its second place endorsement, right after progressive favorite John Avalos. It’s the only slate that the two political opposites appear on together.

The San Francisco Democratic Party, Sierra Club, San Francisco Labor Council, the Bay Guardian, and other progressive groups have all issued endorsement slates that generally include Avalos, Dennis Herrera, and sometimes Leland Yee. But Lee has been almost entirely shut out on the left – except for a third place endorsement by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which is generally left but mostly single issue – making SFRAF the rare exception.

Alex Tom, one of the directors of SFRAF, clarified that its endorsement “ is not about Ed, but about the larger progressive movement.” Going against the endorsement grain, he said SFRAF consolidates the Asian, Latino, and Black communities— a strategy to compensate the divided nature in the political left.

“We need to step back in general and have a conversation with how people of color engage with politics and the progressive movement,” Tom told us.

Like many liberal groups, SFRAF is at the front lines of OccupySF and supports progressive bills like the Health Care Security Ordinance, which was the subject of Lee’s first veto this week, angering progressive groups who sought to close a loophole that lets businesses raid the health savings accounts of their employees.

But Tom points out that “there is an assumption in SF that to get progressive things passed you need to go to District 5, 6, and 9— you don’t go to the Southeast,” or other lower income neighborhoods. SFRAF is trying to reframe the broad spectrum of progressives, to “civically engage [voters of color and lower incomes] and [include them] in the electorate.”

Voters of color don’t engage in the same spaces that other progressive do. “We are not insiders, we are not even inside the progressive circle,” Tom says.

SFRAF’s Board of Directors includes Joel Aguilar, who recently left SF Day Labor Program; Chelsea Boilard with Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth; Antonio Diaz of People Organized to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights; Ariana Gil of Mujers Unidas y Activas; Adam Gold of Causa Justa: Alex Tom with the Chinese Progressive Association; and Steve Williams of People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER).

The Directors promote Ed Lee’s platforms on local hire, summer school, fight against wage-theft, and facilitating equitable budget process. Lee’s a viable candidate for a new type of progressive, says SFRAF, who doesn’t “agree with the insider game” in regards to Rose Pak and Willie Brown, Lee’s closest associates.

SFRAF doesn’t believe the company Lee keeps makes him untrustworthy. While many progressives see a politician’s connections as good indicators of their future actions and allegiances, SFRAF doesn’t seem to place much emphasis on this. Indeed, Lee seems to be an obstacle to much of the group’s agenda.

Take the SFRAF’s 10-point platform, which is diametrically opposed to many of Lee’s recent actions. In the matters of health care, SFRAF’s promotes, “policies that require employers to provide quality, affordable healthcare coverage to their employees and their families,” something that Lee’s recent veto seemed to weaken, letting businesses take about $50 million per year that city law required them to set aside for employee health care.

The next day, Lee faced the same groups he voted against— at a labor union rally— and explained his veto was an act of diligence to protect jobs. But the sponsor of the vetoed legislation, Sup. David Campos, said the veto was an setback for workers’ rights and consumer protection. “It’s a defining issue for us at City Hall,” Campos told us.

But Tom disagrees with progressive assessments that “pay to play” is a major force in City Hall politics, although to did say it is important to “acknowledge your power structure.” To SFRAF, the progressive sector cannot duplicate a city run by a few insiders— a fear SFBG expects to be a reality with Ed Lee as mayor. Instead, he says a progressive City Hall must bring a “multi-sectored” people into the decision-making process.

And he think Lee will be an ally in doing so.

Steven T. Jones contributed to this report.



Editor’s Note: Protests and other events connected to the Occupy Wall Street movement, include OccupySF and Occupy Oakland, have been developing quickly. To take part, follow our Politics blog or check with the websites associated with this important economic justice movement:,, or And you can send tips about what’s happening to


San Francisco’s budget crisis

Youth from the Bay Area Urban Debate League opine on solving the budget crisis in San Francisco. These electrifying young orators seek to engage the community in conversation and share their research about the current economic atmosphere.

6 p.m., free

SFUSD Board Room

555 Franklin St, 1st Floor


Progressive prospects in fall election

Bay Guardian Executive Editor Tim Redmond holds a talk on how the upcoming election will effect the progressive community. Join in discussion, sponsored by Progressive Democrats of America, and ask questions regarding mayoral candidates and city politics.

7-9pm, free

Unitarian Universalist Center, Martin Luther King Room

1187 Franklin, SF


White Picket Fences Reception

This multi-media visual and performance art exhibit highlights queer perspectives on the family unit and reflections of contemporary marriage and relationships. Artists like Midori, Monica Canilao, Harrison Bartlett, Mev Luna, Amelia Reiff Hill and Madison Young conjure dialogue in and out of the LGBT community on the dynamics of progressive life. This family oriented event is open to all ages and will be catered with food, wine and performances of featured artists.

7:30-10 p.m.

Michelle O’Connor Gallery

2111 Mission, SF


Organize and fight back

The Party for Socialism and Revolution is holding its NorCal Regional Conference, with discussions on how big corporations avoid taxes, endless U.S. Wars, the cost of higher education, the prospects for capitalism and socialism, and other topics.

10 a.m.-5 p.m., $7-10

2969 Mission, SF

(415) 821-6171

Making Democracy Work

Celebrate 17 years of social justice service with keynote speakers Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) and Imam Siraj Wahhaj, religious director of At-Taqwa Mosque in NY, at a dinner banquet. This fundraiser supports the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest Islamic grassroots civil rights and advocacy group in the country.

5-10 p.m.

Santa Clara Marriott

2700 Mission College, Santa Clara

(408) 986-9874



Mail items for Alerts to the Guardian Building, 135 Mississippi St., SF, CA 94107; fax to (415) 437-3658; or e-mail Please include a contact telephone number. Items must be received at least one week prior to the publication date.



Editor’s Note: Protests and other events connected to the Occupy Wall Street movement, include OccupySF and Occupy Oakland, have been developing quickly. To take part, follow our Politics blog or check with the websites associated with this important economic justice movement:,, or And you can send tips about what’s happening to


“Fast Times in Palestine”

Pamela Olson’s new memoir, Fast Times in Palestine, recounts her time in Ramallah as a young journalist from 2003-2005. It was described by Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive of the Jewish Voice for Peace, as, “a moving, inspiring account of life in Palestine that’s enormously informative yet reads like a novel.” Celebrate the publication with the program’s short presentation from the author, a Q&A session, and a book signing.

7-9 p.m., free

Stanford University

Building 160, Room 124


Eat crab, fight AIDS

Support individuals living with HIV and help prevent this spreading epidemic by joining this crab feed fundraiser for AIDS Project East Bay. APEB provides free and confidential HIV and STD/STI testing with a scheduled appointment.

6-10 p.m., $45

8945 Golf Links, Oakl.


San Jose Short Film Festival

The 3rd annual San Jose Film Festival will present entertaining shorts from filmmakers around the world on Oct. 20-23rd. The weekend will be speckled with VIP events, parties and interesting forums and panels. San Jose will be taken over with Hollywood style. Each of the four days will be broken down into two-hour blocks of short films of various genres. Tickets are now online for sale.

7 p.m.- 12 a.m.

CineArts Theater @ Santana Row

3088 Olsen Drive, San Jose


Figth police brutality in the Central Valley

Remember Oscar Grant and join in the caravan of resistance standing in solidarity against police violence. Rain or shine, protest outside these city police stations and stand up against those who “shoot down innocent people” and “carry out raids on immigrant and harass those working to end this abuse”.

11 a.m., free

Outside the Stockton Police Station, 22 E. Market, Stockton


12:30 p.m., free  

Manteca Police Station, 1001 W. Center, Manteca


2:00 p.m., free

Stanislaus County Jail, 1115 H St., Modesto

A community forum on state repression will take place in Cesar Chavez Park at 4 p.m. in Modesto

Contact Kat Williams at

Mail items for Alerts to the Guardian Building, 135 Mississippi St., SF, CA 94107; fax to (415) 437-3658; or e-mail Please include a contact telephone number. Items must be received at least one week prior to the publication date.